Assuming that you own the fence of your property, the answer is a clear-cut no. Your neighbors cannot make any changes to your fence because it is legally your property.
If they make any changes or cause any damages, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them.
However, there is one part of this issue that many people miss: the boundaries. You see, for your fence to be legally your property, it should be within your property and not that of your neighbor’s.
Does that sound confusing? Don’t worry. This post will explain property boundaries in detail and answer all your questions about the legalities of the fence surrounding your property.
What Role Do Property Boundaries Play?
Before we discuss the role of property boundaries, we should first define them.
What Are Property Boundaries?
Property boundaries are limits or markers that demarcate a property. These boundaries may be natural features such as rivers, mountains, and the ocean; they can also be man-made structures like walls, fences, buildings, roads, and even hedges.
Put another way, property boundaries are the lines that differentiate one person’s property from another.
Why Do Property Boundaries Matter?
Property boundaries matter because they determine who owns a property and what they can do with it.
For example, if your neighbor is using their side of the fence as an extension of their home’s outdoor space, you have every right to file a lawsuit against them for trespassing on “your” land — which legally belongs to you according to the law.
Should I Consult My Neighbor Before Building the Fence?
Do you plan on building a fence that will be shared in the boundary lines of your’s and your neighbor’s property? Then the first thing you should do is go over to your neighbor.
Tell them what you want the fence to look like. If they have a problem with your idea, try to make the required changes if you believe they are reasonable. In case the changes your neighbor is asking are unreasonable, you should just stick to ending your fence within the boundary lines of your property. Otherwise, you could face legal issues later on.
Can I Paint My Side Of My Neighbor’s Fence?
Let’s reverse the roles. What if you wanted to paint your side of your neighbor’s fence? The answer is that you may or may not be legally allowed to paint your side of the fence.
When Is It Legal to Paint My Side of the Fence?
Here’s a list of scenarios when it’s legal for you to paint your side of the neighbor’s fence:
- Your neighbor has given you permission to paint your side of their fence.
- The fence falls into the boundary lines of your property.
- Both you and your neighbor paid for the fence and it’s legally a shared property between the two of you.
When Is It Illegal to Paint My Side of the Fence?
Here’s a list of scenarios when it’s illegal for you to paint your side of the neighbor’s fence:
- The fence does not fall into the boundary lines of your property.
- Your neighbor doesn’t give permission to paint your side of the fence.
- Your neighbor alone paid for the fence and it’s legally only their property.
Should I Ask for My Neighbor’s Permission Even If I Want to Use the Same Paint as them?
If you want to use the same color as your neighbor’s side of the fence, you should go ahead and do it without asking for permission. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever that your neighbor should have a problem with this.
What Should You Do If Your Neighbor Paints Your Fence Without Permission?
Imagine this. You pay for your fence and build it within your property line. But your neighbor paints his side of your fence in a color different from yours in order to match the color scheme of his entire property. The change makes your property look not as good as used to.
What should you do in such a scenario? Well, you have several options to deal with this issue.
- Ignore it: We know you’ve already spent time, money, and effort on your fence which makes ignoring a hard pill to swallow. But think about how much the other side of the fence’s color is worth. Is it really worth squabbling with your neighbor over? Was the prior paint job to blame for any damage done to your side? Most importantly, is the difference significant enough to go through all the trouble? If the answer is no, then you should just ignore it.
- Talk to your neighbor: If the new colors really bother you, you can talk to your neighbor and explain the situation. Tell them how the new paint reflects badly on your property. You should also inform them that the fence is legally your property and they didn’t have the right to paint it. Hopefully, they will understand your situation and cooperate.
- File a lawsuit: In case your neighbor doesn’t comply and you are the type who doesn’t want to go down without a fight, you can sue your neighbor for property damages. If you go down this read, please keep in mind that it will be a lot of work and there will be a permanent rift between you and your neighbor.
Property boundaries are the first thing you need to understand when it comes to fences because they determine whether or not your neighbor can make any changes to your property.
The same goes for whether you can make any changes to your side of your neighbor’s fence.
Once you’ve evaluated your property’s boundaries, if it turns out your neighbor painted your fence illegally, there are several ways you can go about it. You can just ignore it, talk to your neighbor about it, or file a lawsuit against them. The best option for you depends entirely on what you believe is the right thing to do in your specific situation.